The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Norton Critical Edition / Edition 1

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This Norton Critical Edition of Stevenson's enduringly popular and chilling tale is based on the 1886 First British Edition, the only edition set directly from Stevenson's manuscript and for which he read proofs. The text has been rigorously annotated for student readers and is accompanied by a textual appendix.
"Backgrounds and Contexts" includes a wealth of materials on the tale's publication history as well as its relevance to Victorian culture. Twelve of Stevenson's letters from the years 1885-87 are excerpted, along with his essay "A Chapter on Dreams," in which he comments on the plot's origin. Ten contemporary responses--including those by Julia Wedgwood, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Henry James--illustrate Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde's initial reception. Stevenson's 1885 tale "Markheim," a precursor to Jekyll and Hyde and a window onto the Victorian sensation market, is reprinted in its entirety in this Norton Critical Edition. Karl Miller, Jenni Calder, and Judith Halberstam discuss literary genres central to Jekyll and Hyde. Four scientific essays--including one by Stephen Jay Gould--elucidate Victorian conceptions of atavism, multiple-personality disorder, narcotics addiction, and sexual aberration. Judith R. Walkowitz and Walter Houghton consider the implications of Victorian moral conformity and political disunity for society at large.
"Performance Adaptations" addresses--in writings by C. Alex Pinkston, Jr., Charles King, and Scott Allen Nollen--the many ways in which Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has been dramatized over more than a century and explores its status as a perpetually effective vehicle for changing psychological and social concerns. A checklist of major performance adaptions is provided, along with a sampler of publicity photos.
"Criticism" includes essays by G. K. Chesterton, Vladimir Nabokov, Peter K. Garrett, Patrick Brantlinger, and Katherine Linehan that center on the tale's major themes of morality, allegory, and self-alienation.
A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393974652
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/1/2002
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 121,995
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Louis  Stevenson
Scots writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) is the author of Treasure Island, A Child's Garden of Verses, Kidnapped, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and other great classics.

Katherine B. Linehan is Professor of English at Oberlin College. She is the author of articles on Robert Louis Stevenson, George Gissing, and George Eliot.


Robert Louis Stevenson was born in 1850 in Edinburgh. His father was an engineer, the head of a family firm that had constructed most of Scotland's lighthouses, and the family had a comfortable income. Stevenson was an only child and was often ill; as a result, he was much coddled by both his parents and his long-time nurse. The family took frequent trips to southern Europe to escape the cruel Edinburgh winters, trips that, along with his many illnesses, caused Stevenson to miss much of his formal schooling. He entered Edinburgh University in 1867, intending to become an engineer and enter the family business, but he was a desultory, disengaged student and never took a degree. In 1871, Stevenson switched his study to law, a profession which would leave time for his already-budding literary ambitions, and he managed to pass the bar in 1875.

Illness put an end to his legal career before it had even started, and Stevenson spent the next few years traveling in Europe and writing travel essays and literary criticism. In 1876, Stevenson fell in love with Fanny Vandergrift Osbourne, a married American woman more than ten years his senior, and returned with her to London, where he published his first fiction, "The Suicide Club." In 1879, Stevenson set sail for America, apparently in response to a telegram from Fanny, who had returned to California in an attempt to reconcile with her husband. Fanny obtained a divorce and the couple married in 1880, eventually returning to Europe, where they lived for the next several years. Stevenson was by this time beset by terrifying lung hemorrhages that would appear without warning and required months of convalescence in a healthy climate. Despite his periodic illnesses and his peripatetic life, Stevenson completed some of his most enduring works during this period: Treasure Island (1883), A Child's Garden of Verses (1885), Kidnapped (1886), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886).

After his father's death and a trip to Edinburgh which he knew would be his last, Stevenson set sail once more for America in 1887 with his wife, mother, and stepson. In 1888, after spending a frigid winter in the Adirondack Mountains, Stevenson chartered a yacht and set sail from California bound for the South Pacific. The Stevensons spent time in Tahiti, Hawaii, Micronesia, and Australia, before settling in Samoa, where Stevenson bought a plantation called Vailima. Though he kept up a vigorous publishing schedule, Stevenson never returned to Europe. He died of a sudden brain hemorrhage on December 3, 1894.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Good To Know

It has been said that Stevenson may well be the inventor of the sleeping bag -- he described a large fleece-lined sack he brought along to sleep in on a journey through France in his book Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes.

Long John Silver, the one-legged pirate cook in Stevenson's classic Treasure Island, is said to be based on the author's friend William Ernest Henley, whom he met when Henley was in Edinburgh for surgery to save his one good leg from tuberculosis.

Stevenson died in 1894 at Vailima,, his home on the South Pacific island of Upolu, Samoa. He was helping his wife make mayonnaise for dinner when he suffered a fatal stroke.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 13, 1850
    2. Place of Birth:
      Edinburgh, Scotland
    1. Date of Death:
      December 3, 1894
    2. Place of Death:
      Vailima, Samoa

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
The Text of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 1
Backgrounds and Contexts 75
Composition and Production
[Summary of Composition and Early Reception] 77
Selected Letters 80
To Sidney Colvin, Late September/early October 1885 80
To his Wife, c. October 20, 1885 81
To Andrew Lang, Early December 1885 81
To Katharine de Mattos, January 1, 1886 81
To Will H. Low, January 2, 1886 82
To F. W. H. Myers, c. February 23, 1886 82
To J. R. Vernon, February 25, 1886 83
To Edward Purcell, February 27, 1886 83
To F. W. H. Myers, March 1, 1886 84
To John Addington Symonds, Early March 1886 85
To Thomas Russell Sullivan, c. January 27, 1887 85
To John Paul Bocock, c. Mid-November 1887 86
The Dream Origin of the Tale 87
Reception 93
Mr. Stevenson's Originality of Treatment 93
A Mere Bit of Catch-Penny Sensationalism 94
The Place of Honour 95
Not Merely Strange, but Impossible 95
His Very Original Genius 96
Letter to Robert Louis Stevenson, March 3, 1886 98
The Individualizing Influence of Modern Democracy 100
Letter to Robert Bridges, October 28, 1886 101
The Art of the Presentation 101
The Rev Dr. Nicholson on "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" 102
"Markheim" and the Victorian Market for Sensation Fiction 105
"Markheim" 105
How I Came to Be Such a Student of Our Penny Press 122
Literary Contexts: Doubles, Devils, and Monsters 124
The Modern Double 124
Stevenson's Scottish Devil Tales 126
An Introduction to Gothic Monstrosity 128
Scientific Contexts: Conception of the Divided Self 132
Post-Darwinist Theories of the Ape Within 132
Multiplex Personality 134
Abject Slaves to the Narcotic 136
This Aberrant Inclination in Myself 138
Sociohistorical Contexts: Political Disunity and Moral Conformity 141
London in the 1880s 141
Hypocrisy 146
Performance Adaptations 150
The Stage Premiere of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 152
Themes and Variations 156
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Paramount, 1931) 163
A Checklist of Major Performance Adaptations 170
Criticism 181
The Real Stab of the Story 183
A Phenomenon of Style 184
Instabilities of Meaning, Morality, and Narration 189
An Unconscious Allegory about the Masses and Mass Literacy 197
Sex, Secrecy and Self-Alienation in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 204
Robert Louis Stevenson: A Chronology 215
Selected Bibliography 221
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Edition for a Wonderful Book

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Steven­son is a novella writ­ten by the Scot­tish born author. The 1886 work is con­sid­ered a clas­sic of British literature.

    Pros­e­cu­tor Gabriel John Utter­son has taken cer­tain inter­est in Mr. Edward Hyde even since he tram­pled a lit­tle girl. The crowd gath­ered forced Mr. Hyde to make ret­ri­bu­tion, how­ever the check he gave the girl was signed by Dr. Henry Jekyll.

    Mr. Utter­son also dis­cov­ers that Mr. Hyde is the sole ben­e­fi­ciary of all of Dr. Jekyll¿s wealth. Utter­son tries to dis­cuss the mat­ter of Mr. Hyde with the good doc­tor which, as one might guess, doesn¿t yield any results.

    A year later a mem­ber of the British Par­lia­ment is mur­dered and the maid iden­ti­fies Mr. Hyde. Utter­son con­fronts Dr. Jekyll who shows the lawyer a let­ter in which Mr. Hyde states that he is will dis­ap­pear forever.

    The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Steven­son is a well known novella which deals with split per­son­al­ity.

    I found it inter­est­ing that the book has only two set­tings, let­ters and lab­o­ra­tory. Not the clean, ster­ile lab­o­ra­tory we imag­ine, but a dis­gust­ing, dirty and bloody one which implores the reader to feel the Gothic hor­ror which the author wishes to con­vey. In this envi­ron­ment is where Mis­ter Hyde is cre­ated, a trou­bled fig­ure, mean and unabated.

    Mis­ter Hyde is what Dr. Jekyll wants to be but sup­presses within him­self. Hyde yearns for vio­lence and sex­u­al­ity, he is full of strength, uncar­ing and out of con­trol ¿ or is he actu­ally in full con­trol?
    Mr. Hyde cel­e­brates the nature of men unhin­dered by social norms, rules or laws while Dr. Jekyll self cen­sors him­self as a proper gen­tle­man should in Vic­to­rian England.

    As time goes on, this novella could be read in sev­eral ways. There is the most known one, that of split per­son­al­ity, but also could be a patho­log­i­cal angle of inves­ti­gat­ing the nature of men­tal ill­ness. In these days, where sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and med­i­cine is much more advanced, the story could also be read as a warn­ing on the extreme use of mind alter­ing chem­i­cals, drugs or alco­hol and the self destruc­tive prop­er­ties of such actions.

    But Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde could also be read as a phi­los­o­phy book which deals with the knowl­edge that we are all on death¿s door. Death, in this case, is rep­re­sented as a man of flesh and blood. A psy­cho­an­a­lyst could also, some­what jus­ti­fi­ably, could read the story as the psy­chotic and nar­cis­sist fan­tasy of Dr. Jekyll.

    I found the book¿s sub­ject dis­turb­ing, not because of the mur­der or Goth involved, but more on a psy­cho­log­i­cal level. The pos­si­bil­ity of every indi­vid&

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    This is a great book. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are easily two of few characters on whom much debates are made. This story of the two characters does just that. It brings up many ideas that can be formulated into something quite out of the ordinary. Great book overall.

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    A Thrill to Read

    Stevenson was an interesting intellectual of his time and cleverly depicting his ideas in this extraordinary story, inspiring a long line of thrillers to come.I really enjoyed reading the old English and crave to read more like it. But I can't help thinking how much more I would have enjoyed this book, had I not known the punch line.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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